Today is Monday. I usually don’t like Mondays. Being Monday goes with waking up early, going back to work, and lots of deadlines.
However, today is a special Monday. It’s the first Monday of the year and I have a special announcement!
During the Rails/Merb merge announcement, it was mentioned that I will be joining the soon to be created “Evangelism team”.
A few people asked me what being a “Rails Evangelist” means. To reassure my parents and close friends, no, I didn’t join a new cult worshiping locomotives. However, I still think that public transportation should be improved, especially in this time of crisis (but that’s a different topic).
A technical evangelist, is usually someone who knows and uses a specific technology and thinks others should look into it. This is something I’ve been doing for Merb while being part of the core team. I initiated and helped organizing MerbCamp, re-did the wiki, started working on the merb-book, spent time looking for and listening to users, spent time with third party developers and people pushing Merb to a new level (YellowPages, Wikimedia and many others).
This interaction with the end users and the third party developers is something the entire Merb team valued a great deal and I always felt it was something the community really appreciated.
As part of the merge, it was agreed that we would push things further and have a team within the Rails team to take care of “communication”. Rails is a bigger project than Merb and communication between the dev team and the users isn’t always something easy to do.
That’s why we have formed a separate team that will help communicate and support the community better. We now even have an official page on the Rails website itself :)
The Rails Activists
The A-Team just got announced on the Rails blog.
Instead of being called “evangelists”, we are going to be called “activists”. I think part of the argument was that the E-Team doesn’t sound as good as the A-Team.
We started with team of 4. You might not know them yet but they all are brilliant people and I’m really glad to be working with them.
Gregg Pollack, from Rails Envy. You might remember Gregg from the Rails vs * commercials or from the Rails Envy podcasts. I’ve known Gregg for a little while and he’s someone you can rely on and always full of energy/new ideas.
Ryan Bates, mainly known for his Railscasts. I only met Ryan once in person, but I’ve always been impressed by his work (don’t tell anyone, but I secretly dreamt of having something like Railscasts but for Merb :) )
Mike Gunderloy. I actually did not know Mike but I have read and enjoyed his blog and have seen his work on the Rails guides. Mike is an experienced writer and developer. He joked the other day saying that he started programming before any member of the Rails team was even born. Mike is a great addition to the team and I’m looking forward to learning from his experience.
So what are we going to do?
Pretty simple. We’ve boiled it down to 2 sentences:
The mission of the Rails Activists is to empower and support the worldwide network of Ruby on Rails users. We do this by publicizing Rails, making adoption easier, and enhancing developer support.
if you prefer a few more details, here are some of the tasks we are going to work on:
Public Relations with media of all sizes
Ombudsman work to ensure good user-to-user support
Community Leadership at events and conferences
Media Organization to help create good promotional opportunities
Do we need help?
Absolutely! The idea is not that we are going to do all the work. The concept of this new team is to help organize the community. We are going to build a Rails Network, a network of people involved in local Rails “evangelism”/activism, people contributing and/or translating documentation, third part developers etc…
First thing would be to join the mailing list and share your suggestions, comments, concerns, etc., with us.
Secondly, we have already set up some forums to hear your feedback.
To start off, we are asking people to let us know what they would like to see happening in the Rails3 timeframe. We have other forums for more general feedback, but we need to work with deadlines so we can prioritize accordingly. Using the Rails3 milestone should help us focus on a short/medium term deadline. Long term and not specific suggestions are welcome in the other forums.
Finally, contact us. You can find multiple ways to do so on the activism team web page.